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The Love of the Spirit
04/01/2007
Scripture: 1 John 4:8, 16; Jeremiah 31:3; 1 John 4:...
Track 4 of 4 in the Person & Work of the Holy Spirit series
Running time: 55 minutes, 24 seconds.


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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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This lesson deals with a topic that for some reason is not associated with the Holy Spirit but only of God, Love. Of all the characteristics of God, love is by far the greatest. No matter what happens in life, there is no tragedy that can overcome it, no gift, no feeling nor any amount of wealth more valuable than the love of God. It is the greatest treasure God gives us and it is the only treasure that endures forever. Love is as eternal as God himself.

In the Gospel, the one thing that resounds all throughout the message is that God is Love. You and I live in an era where the love of God is questioned all the time, But that shouldn't surprise us when people who have unregenerated hearts and unrenewed minds as all unbelievers have. Unless a man believes in the Word of God, accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he will have great difficulty accepting the truth that God is love. In fact, probably the greatest words ever written are found in John first letter:

1 John 4:8, 16 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

We first learn that love has no origin. Have you ever considered that fact? Since God is eternal and had no beginning and since God is Love, then love had no beginning. It always existed and it will always exist.

Someone define for me love? If you look in the dictionary for the meaning of love, there are a number of definitions but each one needs to be explained. There was a time when my parents began to love me. There was a time when I started to love my children once they were born. But there never was a time when God started to love me or you. God loved us since He was God and he has loved us from all eternity.

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

God is Love! Do you believe it? If you really do, scriptures tell us that it will transform any life and make that life brand new. But if that is really true, then how come so many Christians live a life where they feel unloved or have trouble loving others?

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

God proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loved us in what he did for us on the cross. But he did more than that. His love goes beyond anything we can comprehend.

When someone offends you or does something wrong against you, how important is it for them to say or demonstrate that they are sorry for what they did before you will restore the relationship?

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It is this fact about God's love that is very hard to comprehend. But His love is very different than our love in that His love is Spiritual. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. God's love is Spiritual and He chooses us with decision and determination and thus He becomes self-denying. This is God's love and how He loves us. He chooses to love us no matter if we love Him back. That is probably the greatest news of all. While man continues to live in the era of grace, God waits for all men to come to Him. But a day is coming when grace will no longer be extended and the era of judgment will come.

God's Love is 4 Dimensional

God's love is impossible to define. Do you know why? It is because the love of God reaches so far back into eternity past. One of the greatest revelations of the Bible is the mutual love of the Father and the Son. Jesus revealed this to us when he said:

John 17:24 Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

But there are 4 dimensions to God's love, dimensions that Paul described in his letter to the Ephesians. Each one of these dimensions helps us to better understand not only God, but also the Holy Spirit of God who lives in us today. Paul describes the whole of God in this passage and I truly believe it was the Holy Spirit Himself who imparted this understanding of God to Paul.

Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

God's Love is Wide

This is a fact about God that the church forgets. Too often we have a narrow view of the world but God's view is wide and all inclusive. One of the most recited scripture today reminds us of it but when we look around our church and see how wide our love is, we quickly notice we are a very narrow people.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus calls everyone to Him and He does it through His church. We are to be just as wide in our love for the world so we will win the world to Him. Look at out class and our church, how wide does our love go? How much wider do we need to become? How do we do that?

God's Love is Long

This is a hard concept for man to comprehend. In fact when ever we discuss this part about God in class, I always see confusion and the wheels of your minds work to try and grasp this concept. God's love is not as long as a dispensation, or a decade, or even a generation. God's love is as long as eternity. In the mind of God, He loved us even before the foundations of the world were even created.

Revelation 13:8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear.

Here is a great fact to hold onto, even before we were created, God planned for the Lamb to be slain. His love for us and his willingness to sacrifice for us in the greatest manner existed well before the need was ever there. When we say to ourselves or are told by someone else "how God could ever love a wretched person as me", we must always remember the length of God's love for us stretches beyond our imaginations.

God's Love is Deep

How deep can man fall? How far into the depths of hell can man find himself in this world due to the sins he committed? There are many scriptures that talks about how deep God will go to save a man.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

The thought here for the word "completely" means "to the uttermost". God can reach to the deepest depths of sin and degradation man finds himself in. There is no place that God can't save man from.

Psalm 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

But what I find the most interesting about this part of God is the deepness of God himself. How is God able to rescue me from the depths, because God himself is deep and he totally understands it. God shares His depth with us and helps us understand it.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

I don't know if you are catching all of this but you can see intertwined with in all of these passages is the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. How do you and I ever hope to understand the deep side of God? It comes to us not by our own intelligence, but by the Spirit of God living in us.

God's Love is High

How high is God's love? It is higher than our thoughts. It is impossible for us to begin to imagine it but God still has made it possible for us to know His love. There is no mountain high enough, no spaceship that can get us up there that can even begin to know the heights of His love. Even though His love is high, it is not lifted up above the view of man.

John 19:23; 25-27 So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others-one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

How high does a person have to look to see the love of Jesus? Man doesn't need to look any higher than on top of Mount Calvary to see the heights of God's love. What is fascinating about the heights of God's love is this, it is high enough to reach up to the heights of the most cultured members of society, yet not too high for the unlearned and ignorant. God's height reaches everywhere.

What does all of this have to do with the Holy Spirit? God is love and God is the Spirit. To understand and fully experience the love of God it can only happen through the Spirit that lives within us. Man can only love through the power of the Holy Spirit and when the Spirit comes to live in us once we accept Jesus as our lord and Savior, the attributes of love begin to show up in our character. The first fruit that comes by the Spirit is the fruit of Love.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Of all the struggles that you fight against, which is the deepest of all? Which is the one that always comes out no matter what? Man is naturally selfish. The one struggle that is always there is the fight with the self. In each of us there is the natural urge to advance our own interests, enlarge our own prosperity. The strain of self-love runs in all of us. For some of us it is a dominate strain while for others, it is the understrain. What ever yours is like, Paul openly says it this way.

2 Timothy 3:2-5 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Even though Paul describes those who are without God in this verse, he warns the church that many within the church act like this. Unfortunately, many in the church do act this way. But the fact remains, a person who does not love God first, others second and himself last is not a real Christian. Love of self is unchristian and only proves that he who seeks his own interest and loves self first is the enemy of God. Note how Paul closes his thought in 2 Timothy 3.

2 Timothy 3:5b Have nothing to do with them.

How do we know that the love of the Holy Spirit is in the believer? We can tell by the actions of the person. The first fruit of the Spirit is love. I truly believe all the other fruits of the Spirit are built upon the fruit of Love. When the love of the Spirit is in the heart of the believer, the following things will be produced.

Holy Spirit love produces service: We are saved to serve John 9:4. Because Jesus came to serve, we also desire to serve others.
Holy Spirit love prompts sacrifice: When the love of the Spirit moves us to serve, we do not stop to count the cost. The highest human love will often prompt sacrifice. As a Christian, that is what we are all about when it comes to our service for Christ. The Holy Spirit transforms our selfish nature into one that will serve and sacrifice for others.
Holy Spirit love prevents division:
Ephesians 4:1-6 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Paul describes exactly how a church full of the Holy Sprit will act. There is unity within the body because no one is looking out after their own interest, but the interest of others. Each bears one another in love and that love is followed by other fruits of the spirit that results in unity.

Holy Spirit love produces charity: Charity is literally defined as love in action. People who are driven by the Holy Spirit and zealous in their giving to meet the needs of others.

Most of us will never do great things, but we can do small things in a great way.